RUTLAND. Florida residents confessed to accepting kickbacks and bribes totaling $ 2.5 million from companies looking for contracts to perform energy conservation projects in federal buildings. This included White River Junction Veterans Affairs facilities.
Bhaskar Patel (67) of Windermere in Florida pleaded guilty to two felonies on Monday in Rutland. Each carries a maximum of 10 years imprisonment. He is still under recognizance to stay until the December 7th hearing. Judge Jeffrey Crawford stated that federal probation officers would conduct a preliminary investigation prior to sentencing Patel. Federal prosecutors also filed a plea deal as part of the plea agreement. Patel was served with a notice of confiscation totaling $ 2,536,119. According to the plea agreement, prosecutors will reduce the amount seized to $ 1.75million if Patel pays $950,000 before sentencing. Patel could also face a maximum of $ 5,072,238.38 in fines, which would be double the amount he illegally earned.
Federal prosecutors want to confiscate his Windermere property and 2012 Mercedes-Benz E Class E350, Clock, six rings, 43 earrings, 18 bracelets, six pendants, $ 35,700 in Indian Rupees, as well as a timeshare in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
David Haas (an Orlando, Florida-based attorney representing Patel) declined to comment after Monday’s hearing.
The case’s Assistant U.S. attorney Abigail Averbach stated that charges could be brought against other people involved in the case. However, she refused to reveal who they might be. Court records show that Patel in some cases ordered payors to write checks for his daughter and son-in-law.